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Allow GPs to charge for treatment unavailable on the NHS, say LMCs

The GPC is being urged to push for GPs to be able to charge their registered patients for private services when a treatment is not otherwise available on the NHS.

In a motion to be voted on during the LMCs Conference 2017, GP leaders from City and Hackney LMC have argued that because GPs are independent contractors they should be able to provide private care.

A motion submitted by the LMC states: ’That conference insists that as independent contractors, GPs should be permitted to provide and directly charge their registered patients for treatment not available on the NHS.’

This comes after Pulse revealed last year that Oxfordshire LMC had been having discussions with GP leaders across England and drawing up plans for how their member practices can charge for delivering private work.

Another motion from Hertfordshire LMC tasks the GPC with seeking legal opinion on NHS England’s decision, first revealed by Pulse, to require that all new GP practice contracts are thrown open to private providers.

Motions which are approved after debate at Conference become the mandated position for the GPC in future contract negotiations with NHS England and NHS Employers.

Other motions call for the GPC to:

The agenda also includes a now traditional motion stating the profession has ‘no confidence’ in the CQC inspection regime.

This year it calls for more support for practices in appealing their ratings and ensuring inspections are evidence based.

Motions for debate at LMCs Conference 2017

11 LINCOLNSHIRE: That conference requests that GPC advises on a realistic action plan to:

(i) provide appropriate value for money mechanisms to give practices constructive feedback

(ii) stop inappropriate anonymous feedback systems which allow for trolling and cyber-bullying

(iii) ensure feedback and research reports are promulgated appropriately and used to enhance services.

14 WALTHAM FOREST: That conference demands that GPC develops a definitive list of what is included in the core contract to enable practices to focus NHS resources on delivering essential services

21 CITY AND HACKNEY: That conference insists that as independent contractors, GPs should be permitted to provide and directly charge their registered patients for treatment not available on the NHS.


(i) celebrates the hard work and professionalism of colleagues working in emergency medicine

(ii) understands that hospitals are under a great deal of pressure at this time

(iii) demands that the government withdraws its assertion that the overcrowding of A&E departments is due to general practice

(iv) does not support the move to redirect A&E patients to general practice

(v) instructs GPC to oppose the placing of GPs in A&E departments as this will further destabilize primary care

38 HERTFORDSHIRE: That conference mandates the GPDF to seek an expert QC opinion to challenge the notion that only APMS contracts may be awarded when procuring general medical services. 

41 MANCHESTER: That conference has no confidence in CQC and agrees the need to:

(i) develop guidance to support and empower GP practices to challenge the process and inspections

(ii) support GP practices through the appeals process

(iii) ensure CQC processes are open and transparent and reduce bureaucracy

(iv) ensure inspections are evidence based and relate to the contract of the practice and what they are commissioned to provide.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Having endured four CQC visits, I absolutely certainly have no confidence in this racketeering gang of amateur inspectors. I have no confidence in the process ever becoming evidence based or fair, or open and transparent. Any help or guidance with opposing or challenging the process will be most welcome.
    And, yes, we should be able to charge for any service that is not funded.

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  • Rogue1

    It is a real inequity how consultants can see the same patient on NHS and private for the same thing, and dentists too. But the 'rules' forbid GPs doing the same?!

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  • If GPs are allowed to charge their list patients for non-NHS patients then that would open the door for them to gradually increase their private practice and gain financial independence from the DOH. This would result in an inability of the DOH to control GPs. Take it from me, it will never happen.

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  • I think you are all sadly wrong - it does not take much thought to realise that GPs are different to Consultants and Dentists ( average visits for both of these professionals is 1-2 per year) Average GP visits 7-8/year. This very difference would cause a HUGE conflict of interest - the patient would feel they had to have "private stuff" just to "keep in" with their doctor.

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  • Harbottle - Aren't we just talking about things like ear microsuction and minor surgery for benign skin lesions not available on NHS? I don't see this breaking the Dr/Patient relationship.

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  • with the GPC in our corner... I suggest we do yet more for even less instead and stop applying sense to our Independent Practitioner role.

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  • I can see no objection to this. Why can I do a HGV medical and give a private holiday jab but not cryo a wart?? It will boost GP income, improve retention at no cost to Government. Agree, as always, some will game the system. But in the current environment, where the whole system is in doubt, I think benefit outweighs risk. Also let us all dispense. Same argument.

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  • And a demand that LMC officials stop embargoing information and protecting insider dealings with NHSE insisting on 'Chatham House rules' We are not planning to invade Iraq so Chatham House rules in NHS dealings only encourage backhand deals and corruption amongst chums in NHSE and LMCs. We've had a Chairperson who harps about these rules every time a discussion comes up. Must feel really insecure.
    BTW, most of non nhs services can be declined if no payment is coming forth - so why are we reinventing the wheel. Is it that the LMCs finally decided to show they are manifesting their clout?

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  • GP appointments outside of core hours, that should be chargeable

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